I wasn't planning on getting back into this subject today, but I'm unable to resist. Scot Lehigh, a veteran Boston Globe political writer who's watched Mitt Romney a lot longer than most of us, has a column today that, yes, gives further credence to my argument that Romney has more of a temper burbling beneath the surface than most people realize.
He describes another episode beyond those included in my article:
...As a long-time observer of Romney, I’ve concluded that those episodes usually occur when he’s caught off-guard or rattled, which happens most often in encounters with the press.
Not always, however. State Senator Fred Berry, Democrat of Peabody, recalls one storied State House incident, in May of 2005. Romney, then the governor, thought he had a deal that senators would back several of his amendments on stem-cell legislation. But that agreement fell apart at the 11th hour, depriving Romney of some hoped-for bragging rights. Berry, the majority leader, had a meeting with Romney on an unrelated matter shortly thereafter.
“We never got to my subject matter,’’ Berry says. Instead, Romney zeroed in on the Senate’s change of mind. “He was very upset. He said, ‘How could you do this to me?’ ’’
How upset? “He was so mad his hair was shaking,’’ says Berry.
That description may seem fanciful, but as someone who has experienced Romney in hair-shaking mode, I can attest that it does happen.
Lehigh goes on to note that Romney is generally even-keeled, especially when dealing with his own peers. But he comes around to the same conclusion that I've arrived at on this score: that if and when this race finds Romney under stress -- as displayed in last week's Bret Baier interview -- we could be seeing a far less unflappable candidate than we've been led to expect.
...To say that his occasionally eruptive temper isn’t a governing concern is not to say it might not become an election-year issue.
The carefully paced, tightly controlled public presentation Romney favors is a thing of the past. He now finds himself in a situation where he’s far less comfortable: Caught in the current of a fast-moving, pressure-packed, unpredictable campaign. Should he lose his temper, bark at a rival, upbraid a reporter, or explode at a heckler, the event could take on a life of its own.
It takes a cool head to survive a hot campaign. And for all his other assets, composure is something Romney doesn’t always possess when the rapids get rough.
And that, I promise, will be all I have to say on the matter. Until at least Monday.